So what did it cost Alabama? Let's start with what we know:
- $461.1 million in direct financial aid, including land acquisition, site preparation, worker training, and road improvements.
- $350.3 million in "abatements of sales, property and utility taxes by state and local governments."
Which adds up to a cool $811 million in direct spending and tax breaks up front. Now for the part we can't put a price tag on:In addition, the company won't have to pay any state income tax for the next 30 years unless its tax liability exceeds $185 million in any year. And since the entire state corporate income tax only brought in $484 million in fiscal year 2006, it's hard to imagine how Thyssen's new plant could possibly rack up $185 million on its own. So that "unless" statement is pretty meaningless: Thyssen is getting a free pass for 30 years on the corporate income tax.
So you can't put a price tag on that part of the deal, but that doesn't mean it's free.
So if Louisianans are looking for consolation in the wake of "losing" this smokestack-chasing contest, try this on: maybe this is a race they couldn't have afforded to win. And maybe Alabama will find they can't afford it either.